Santa Barbara Boy Scout Troop 33 and community volunteers plan to decorate more than 4,000 veterans’ graves with U.S. flags to commemorate Veterans Day 2010.

Nick Scarvelis

Nick Scarvelis

According to local officials, this form of commemoration has never occurred for Veterans Day.

“The goal of this project is to recognize the service and sacrifice of the men and women in uniform,” said Nicholas Scarvelis, a Life Scout who is coordinating the effort for his Eagle Scout project. “Santa Barbara Cemetery is the resting place for over 4,000 veterans, some going back to the Civil War and Spanish-American War, but most are World War II– and Korea-era vets.”

Scarvelis, a Dos Pueblos High School senior, said this Veterans Day is especially meaningful with so many of the elderly veterans of earlier wars passing away, and so many men and women in uniform seeing action around the world.

“I’ve always felt that those serving our armed forces sacrifice greatly, and this sacrifice is deserving of recognition and respect,” he said.

The project is being organized in conjunction with Veteran’s Memorial Hall, which works with 11 veterans groups.

Veterans Day commemoration activities will include a service at Santa Barbara Cemetery on Thursday, Nov. 11, with a luncheon and keynote address at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall immediately following. 

“We will also hold a formal flag retirement ceremony at the luncheon,” Scarvelis said. “If anyone has an old or damaged American flag, disposing of it properly is important.”

He said people may drop off old flags to Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara, before Nov. 11 for proper retirement.

People interested in assisting with flag decoration or any other aspect of the Veterans Day observances may call Scarvelis at 805.967.4147 or 805.452.3047.

— Nick Scarvelis is a member of Santa Barbara Boy Scout Troop 33.